The media has a profound impact on the way we see the world, how we interpret news events, and the way we respond to these events. This is especially true in the wake of natural disasters, shootings, bombings, and other tragedies.
The media tells us what happened, how many homes were devastated, who was killed or injured — all the facts that keep us informed. These stories are important, but they’re often confined to tragedy, despair and loss.
As days and weeks pass, the media move on to new stories, often neglecting to tell the “what’s possible?” stories about how the people and communities affected by these tragedies are coping and what they’re learning. We hear these types of stories on one-year anniversaries, but they’re not an ongoing part of the media’s coverage the way that the “what happened?” stories are. A growing body of research is confirming what many have long suspected — that a steady diet of trauma and disaster triggers stress, fear and trauma in those consuming the stories.
What if the news media covered stories of recovery and resilience as much as they cover stories about devastation and despair?